Life is a field so farm it.
There is a teeny weeny story behind the tag line for our new company. Ag Swag is a brand new company that designs, collects and features products that are Ag related. The quick sell is we design some really cool hats, hoodies and *Gluten Free products (please visit agswag.us and seek the Gluten Free tab). Most of the items we feature have a story behind them, as for me and my life there is almost always a “story” behind everything I do.
My oldest son graduated this last June. Last year about this time I noticed everyone was sending their little angels off to the next chapter of life with emotional shares and sometimes tears. I felt a little dead inside. I too had visions for my son leaving the nest, those visions involved me and my husband high fiving and bouncing our chests together like football players do after a touchdown. Truth is my son hasn’t officially left the nest as of yet, so perhaps tears will fall, I still suspect they will be ones of joy. Since graduation he’s been busy cutting hay and then directly heading to harvest for another family near us. Over the last 3 summers he’s averaged 2.5 days where he didn’t work, usually due to being rained out. This all may sound callous and only those that really know our family may understand. We are beyond proud of him but our oldest son is a border collie. He’s not a dog in the literal sense just the fact that if he does not have enough to do he will find something to do and it’s not always what you wanted him to do. Border Collies need a job, they have a purpose and they are working dogs. Our oldest is no different.
This young man has attended the same school since he was 3. His daycare provider was a classmate of mine that I have known since we attended Kindergarten together. His Kindergarten teacher is our neighbor. His fourth grade teacher was my 3rdgrade teacher. I could go on and on about the interweaving’s rural communities have when the next generation stays around to farm or raise a family in a small town but I think my point is clear. This is mostly beneficial; the only major downside is when life is less than Facebook post material. You still have the love and support but there is something else you feel… you feel like you are in a fishbowl and your faults are exposed and raw.
My son was not a fan of any classroom, certainly more noticeable the older he got. He has been mowing lawns since he was 8, driving a tractor at 10 and this may blow your mind but has religiously been doing his own laundry since he was 5. I shit you not, 5 years old he was eager to help with laundry, I showed him and he’s been washing his own clothes every Sunday night. Again, see above reference re: my son=Border collie. Free time is a luxury item not afforded to many who raise livestock. This has been a blessing in disguise when your offspring has the work ethic of a cow dog. The flip side is if you do relax around these kind of children you may walk in a room and find an unopened beer bottle super glued to your antique table, just saying.
The last few months of the school year were beyond stressful. Deadlines looming, college discussions and the major question to ask any Senior student “what are your plans after you graduate?” We knew that formal college was not in his top 100 things to do after high school. We knew that farming was something that held his interest and kept him busy but the truth was our son had no idea what his future plans were. I too remember having no idea but felt pressure to come up with something to place in the paper. Our rural newspaper prints a Graduation Edition typically just before all the schools in the county hold their ceremonies. There is a photo and a little write up that the student themselves have compiled. It lists achievements, awards and future plans. Over the course of his senior year my son found himself in several discussions where he felt on the defense about not pursuing college and “just farming”.
This was his write up for the newspaper.
Summer Plans: Read novels under the sunset after a long walk on the beach.
Fall Plans: Farming and fixing the Ole Chev when the ole Chev has the ole Chev problems.
Ultimate career goal: Become an explorer and lead an expedition to find the very rare and elusive Greasy Mustard Tiger.
Activities: Co-Captain of the synchronized swimming team, won a hot dog eating contest in 2013, graduated from the National Cricket Academy last fall.
Teachers who made a difference – and why: Mr. Edwards and Mr. Ikehara were excellent teachers in the classroom and always pushed me to do my best.
Awards, scholarships and honors: Got the “Good Behavior Bee” in kindergarten for bringing my homework folder back.
Advice to next year’s seniors: Life is a field, so farm it.
And that’s the story.